Trainer and EarlyBird delegates

Most parents seek advice on how to understand their autistic child. Helping parents to support their child in the early stages of life sets the foundation for children to experience the world around them better. The National Autistic Society has been supporting autism experienced professionals to offer parent programmes to families in their local area since 1998. 

What are the EarlyBird Parent Support Programmes?

EarlyBird is a three-month programme for parents whose child has received a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder and is under five years.

EarlyBird Plus is a three-month programme for parents whose child receives a slightly later diagnosis (four-eight years).

Healthy Minds is a six-week programme for families with a child aged six to 11 years which focuses on emotional wellbeing and good mental health strategies.

The EarlyBird programme approach will help families to:

  • understand their child’s autism
  • improve communication with their child
  • develop strategies to pre-empt problem behaviours and/or manage those which do occur.

"A fantastic course for both parents and practitioners. Fun and interesting and I loved the group activities. We learnt loads and have had good feedback from my colleagues on the info I have shared with them..." – Accompanying professional on the EarlyBird Healthy Minds programme

EarlyBird Healthy Minds focuses on emotional wellbeing and good mental health strategies that can help children with autism to:

  • build self-esteem
  • increase confidence
  • reduce anxiety
  • develop resilience.

Following the launch of the EarlyBird programme, a small scale study was carried out with original families after they completed the parent programme. The research, published in the Good Autism Practice, illustrated the effectiveness of the programme. The research found that parents were less stressed at the end of the programme, were using less language with their child and scored as having more positive perceptions of their child’s autism.

As an autism experienced professional you can undertake our Licensed User training courses to deliver our autism specific parent programmes to families in your local area.

Licensed training to deliver any of the three EarlyBird programmes is available to autism-experienced professionals across the UK and overseas. View locations of current EarlyBird licensed training teams.

We now have a new Teen Life Parent Programme which you can become licensed to deliver.

EarlyBird Licensed Training

In order to access the training you must:

  • be a team of at least two autism experienced professionals
  • have prior experience of working with autistic children  
  • have experience of running workshops or training sessions with parents or professionals.

Regular three-day licensed training courses take place at the EarlyBird Centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Cost:  £1095 + VAT per person includes all training materials and a three-year licence.

EarlyBird Plus Licensed Training

In order to access the training you must:

  • be a team of at least two autism-experienced professionals
  • have prior experience of working with autistic children  
  • have experience of running workshops or training sessions with parents or professionals.

Regular three-day licensed training courses take place at the EarlyBird Centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Cost:  £1095 + VAT per person includes all training materials and a three-year licence.

Existing EarlyBird licensed users who hold a current three-year licence and have delivered at least one full EarlyBird Programme can train and license to deliver EarlyBird Plus at a reduced rate.

Cost: £675 + VAT per person includes all training materials and a three-year licence.

Healthy Minds Licensed Training

Healthy Minds has been developed in response to recent evidence which indicated that a high percentage of children with autism are at risk of experiencing mental health problems in adolescence and adulthood. The programme aims to help minimise this risk.

In order to access the training you must:

  • be a team of at least two autism experienced professionals
  • have prior experience of working with children and young people with autism  
  • have experience of running workshops or training sessions with parents or professionals.

Regular three-day licensed training courses take place at the EarlyBird Centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Cost:  £1095 + VAT per person includes all training materials and a three-year licence.

Existing EarlyBird / Plus licensed users who hold a current three-year licence and have delivered at least one full Programme can train on our two-day Healthy Minds licensed training course.

Cost: £675 + VAT per person includes all training materials and a three-year licence.

To book or find out more

For an application pack and further details about becoming a licensed EarlyBird / Plus / Healthy Minds trainer, please contact the EarlyBird Centre 01226 779218 or email earlybird@nas.org.uk

Provisional bookings can be made by telephone and will be held for up to 28 days pending receipt of a completed application form.